The purpose of
digestion is to pull nutrition from what you take in, and serve it
up to your cells. This seems quite straightforward, however,
what you take in must have the
nutrients your cells need
your digestive system must be
able to extract them
and your system must be able to
remove all the waste material.
If you have
heartburn, something is wrong. If your doctor recommends you take
some kind of antacid, two things will happen:
Antacid users are
the first to find out that with usage, you heartburn only gets
worse. Your body begins to expect the antacid and is gearing up to
try to digest your food.
Around age 35 we
begin to produce less acid and fewer digestive enzymes. I don’t know
why this is, it just is. Whether this is something that happens to
all people on all diets, I do not know. But it seems to be true for
us creatures in this society.
first thing you want to do when you have
heartburn, or this newly named disease (very fashionable lately)
GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), is take a digestive aid,
and not a digestive enemy (such as an antacid).
My favorite (the
best of the cheapest) digestive enzymes in
the past have been NOW Foods Super Enzymes (they now come in
capsules). Take one before meals, and see what happens. In addition
to this, I like to chew on a few (4 or 5) papaya enzymes after a
meal. Interestingly enough, if you have any intestinal parasites,
and 85% of Americans have some kind of parasite, papaya enzymes will
help to digest them. One reason we have parasites is that our
digestive systems are so weak (from antacids) that they flourish in
Keep in mind that
NOW’s Super Enzymes have additional betaine hydrochloride
(hydrochloric acid, the stuff our bodies are supposed to make). Some
of you will require additional stomach acid, and betaine
hydrochloride is available at most health food stores.
I've recently found
a product called AbsorbMax™ from
www.BioTrust.com. It is an
amazing product containing enzymes that handle gluten. I've never
found anything like this. And though you might not be gluten
intolerant, statistically, you might still have problems with
gluten. If you have digestive problems, I'd suggest trying this
product and see what happens.
For many of you,
the simple addition of digestive enzymes (and betaine hydrochloride)
to your life will work wonders. You’ll be eating your favorite foods
again and your body will get the nutrition it needs.
However, do not
expect to work wonders on your digestive system if you OVER fill
your gut with manmade, highly processed foods and take a few
digestive aids. Health is not luck, it’s work and dedication.
Causes of Heartburn
digestive system; body doesn’t create enough enzymes and/or stomach
acid and a lack of probiotics.
2. over eating
3. drinking too
much with a meal
4. food allergies
5. poor food
6. poor diet; high
in processed carbs, excess sugars
drugs (that contribute to the problem)
problems such as a hiatal hernia
10. and finally:
eating while stressed!
If you have
symptoms of heartburn or GERD, the first thing you want to do is add
digestive enzymes. Before a meal, take one of the NOW Foods Super
Enzymes. We've also found that Papaya Enzymes can help, and these
are very inexpensive and can be found anywhere.
For many of you,
this will be all you need.
We want you to keep
in mind that we have a lot of personal experience with the products
we’re telling you about. We know that the therapies laid out here
work, and they work well. So, keep reading.
IF this addition
still doesn’t work, you could have either an ulcer or an acid
sensitive stomach. You will need digestive enzymes without the added
acid, betaine hydrochloride.
If enzymes without
the acid work for you, but you get burning with extra acid, you
might have an ulcer (or you are acid sensitive, which is nearly the
same thing in that you will treat it the same). For this condition
you will want to add some chlorophyll to your diet and some papaya
enzymes. You might want to
drink some Simply Natural Products Aloe after your meal. Aloe is
very healing, and has been known to help relieve many digestive
disorders as well as ulcers.
One more thing we
will mention here and delve into in depth later is a supplement
nearly all of us need: Probiotics. We all know what antibiotics are,
but probiotics are the good bacteria in our gut that boost our
immune system, help us to digest, keep our stool soft, protect us
from diarrhea and chronic inflammation, and form the first line of
defense against opportunistic organisms like yeast/fungus.
We have reviewed many
probiotics in the past, and funny how the best companies with the
best products seem to disappear. So now I just order from Swanson
online. One of my favorites is:
Ultimate Probiotic Formula. It's inexpensive and full of a
One of the best
probiotics on the market, one used also for candida (yeast)
is an amazing product from right here in Minnesota. As you know, the
problem with probiotics is getting them past the digestive tract and
into the colon. Digestion kills a lot of probiotics. This product,
Probicell, is not a probiotic in the bottle, but rather a spore.
The spores are indestructible and they make their way to your colon
where they stay and turn into your probiotics. It's an amazing
product and we do have an affiliate program with them, so you do
support us when you shop at their site.
Now, for many of
you, again, this might be all you need. However, if you still have
reflux, we’re going to have to go a bit further.
First of all, do
not eat within three hours of sleeping. Lying down can bring it up.
This is a simple fact.
Next, you’ll want
to increase your enzymes (the ones without acid if you did not pass
the acid test above). If you’ve been using one, try two or three.
The best we've found is
from the BioTrust people, but just
be aware they will try to sell you more and more and more each day
so UNSUBSCRIBE when they send you their first sales pitch. Don't you
just love companies that tell you about their very short video that
takes the rest of the week to finish watching?
If you haven’t done
the elimination diet we talked bout in the first essay on digestion,
you really should. A food allergy could be the cause.
And one final
thing you can do is eat until your stomach is only three quarters
full. Take in smaller meals and don't eat before bed time. Eat
around 4 or 5 and go for a walk.
If this doesn’t
work, like more than 50% of the population over age 50, you probably
have a hiatal hernia.
This occurs when
the diaphragm muscle weakens and a portion of the stomach seeps
through the diaphragm into the chest cavity.
Now, I am not a
very good artist, but perhaps this little animation will help you
happening. It happens over a period of time. Yes, I know, the
stomach has an exit at the bottom left into the duodenum, but like I
said, I’m not a very good artist.
Now you can go to
this site for orthodox medicine’s methods of diagnosing if you have
a hiatal hernia:
Or you can go to a
chiropractor or kinesiologist who knows how to diagnose and repair
Luckily, for our
readers, I received from a Dr Donaldson DC, a reader, the complete
diagnostic and healing technique for hiatal hernias to pass on to
First off, keep in
mind that we neither recommend nor promote self-diagnosis and/or
self treatment, but you have a right to know anything you want to
So, have the
"patient" lie on his/her back. Have the patient hold her/his breath
as long as s/he can and time this with a stopwatch or second hand.
Place the heel of your hand just below the sternum (onto the solar
plexus) just slightly left of center with the butt of your hand just
barely touching the base of the ribs. If you can "almost" feel the
rib cage/sternum, you have the position correctly. With the patient
breathing normally, press downward and toward the patient’s feet on
the patient’s exhalation. You will use a steady pressure and hold as
the patient breathes in and then you will press again along with the
exhalation, downward and inward. On the next exhalation, you will
perform your last press toward the patient’s feet with steady
pressure. A chiropractor will, upon the end of the patient’s
exhalation, give a slight, quick thrust.
You will use the
fleshy part of your hand for this pressure, not the butt of your
hand. Normally once is enough, but sometimes a chiropractor will do
this two, three, or four times. When completed, have the patient
hold her/his breath and time it. If the breath holding is 50% longer
(e.g., one minute prior to therapy, and one and a half minutes
after), then you can assume the person has a hiatal hernia. Why? The
portion of the stomach that has leaked into the chest cavity takes
up space that the lungs could us if the stomach wasn’t in the way.
If you are
squeamish and cannot do this or the person with the problem has
brittle bones, you will want to visit a chiropractor or
This technique is
both the diagnosis and the treatment. In most cases, the problem is
fixed immediately, though some will have to get this treatment
periodically over the rest of their life. It simply depends on the
person. But you will know immediately when you get relief.
(formerly the Sedona Labs Product Review)
In Dr Weston Price’s
research of the various primitive cultures, he found a wide variety
of diets. Eskimos naturally did not eat the same things as Polynesians who did not eat the same things
as Africans and so on.
However, they all had one thing in common: they all had a form of
Many fermented foods
contain good bacteria that we now refer to as “probiotics.”
The term “good
bacteria” sounds like an oxymoron. Most of us think of bacteria as
things that cause illness. However, probiotics are things that
prevent illnesses and actually fight the bad bacteria that cause
infections and inflammations. Recent studies show that probiotics
actually help fight the common cold.
Metchnikoff took home the Nobel Prize for Medicine when he
discovered phagocytes and a variety of other components to our
immune systems. He noted a direct link between longevity, immune
function, and maintaining healthy intestinal flora. Since then,
modern medicine, modern science, and modern marketing have done
everything in their power to destroy our intestinal flora.
There are nearly
400 varieties of probiotics in our gut, weighing up to four pounds.
Some are resident while others are transient, passing through our
bodies, performing their duties and then being excreted.
Dave Durenburger, a former senator for our State of Minnesota, I was
asked what the wellness community thought of irradiating our food;
they were shocked to find out that “we” were against it. When asked
why, I quickly responded, “Radiation kills good bacteria along with
bad bacteria.” Not surprising, he and his advisors had never heard
of good bacteria.
Pesticides also can
kill off the good bacteria, so the only way you’ll get some
varieties of probiotics is to eat fresh, rinsed (not scrubbed) raw,
When we discuss the
resident bacteria in our bodies, balance is the key word. Our good
bacteria must live in balance with the bad. If we kill off the good
bacteria, the bad begins to grow and spread. If we increase our good
bacteria, it will rein in the bad. Addistionally, since this article
was first written, it's been established that we each live in a
"biome" of sorts, one in which we (our bodies, our cells) are just a
tenth of the collection of "critters" composing this biome. Take a
look at this: They're
As a journalist,
I’m almost embarrassed to pass this next tidbit off to you, because
I learned it way back in the early nineties when I was researching
cancer. Since then I’ve lost my notes, but the story, being so
powerfully etched in my mind, lacks all the usual references of who,
what, where, etc. So, you’ll just have to believe me (since I cannot
reference it) and accept my veracity.
There was a man
(you see? I’ve even forgotten this man’s name) who was a virologist.
He was hired by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study
bacteria. He was quick to remind them that he was a virologist, but
to the government, all things small must be related, somehow.
investigation was bifidus (Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium
lactis, Bifidobacterium longum) and its influence on e-coli.
Bifidus is passed to babies in mother’s milk.
Mother’s milk is a key ingredient to a baby’s immune system. In
children, bifidus is the primary probiotic in their system up to
about the age of seven; then acidophilus becomes the dominant
This researcher discovered something very important.
He discovered that if a baby is taken off mother’s milk and put on
cow’s milk, its bifidus count begins to drop, slowly at first, and
then quickly. As the bifidus count drops the e-coli count increases.
By the time the colony of bifidus is depleted, the number of e-coli
has gone from 10 to the 7th power to 10 to the 14th
power. This is NOT double. This is a doubling seven times.
He also found that at that amount (10 to the 14th),
that the e-coli produced an “endotoxin” that stopped the heart and
lungs for a period of time.
Do you see what’s going on here? It had been known
that Sudden Death Syndrome was more prevalent in bottle fed babies
than in mother’s milk fed babies, but now we’d found a probable
He wrote up his findings and passed them to his
higher ups. He never heard back from them. He arranged a meeting and
it was then that he learned that his research was not going to be
published. In effect, they told him, “Sure, like the USDA is going
to go out and tell mothers not to feed their kids cow’s milk.”
He quit. He went on the road to get the news out. He
gave lectures at any venue that would have him. This is how I
finally heard the story. And now I’ve passed it on to you.
It is interesting
to note that a breastfeeding mother who supplements with acidophilus
will feed her baby breast milk chock full of bifidus. In fact, a
study recently published in Lancet [03;361(9372):1869-71] had
breastfeeding mothers take a daily dose of lactobacillus acidophilus
for the first six months. Their babies were then followed for four
years. Apparently this short regimen was shown to protect the
children from eczema for the first two years of their lives. We also
know that mothers taking bifidus will pass that on to their babies
too, without having to convert anything.
An imbalance in the
intestinal flora of babies seems to be the cause of their eczema,
but even more important, building good intestinal flora early is
absolutely critical to their developing immune systems. Eventually,
an imbalance in the intestinal flora will cause their immune systems
to react to practically everything. This is the beginning of
allergies in our children are growing at unprecedented rates. A
study out of Henry Ford Health Systems showed that children given
antibiotics in their first six months increased their chances of
developing allergies (and asthma) by age seven. From the study: "Dr.
Johnson theorizes that use of antibiotics may affect the
gastrointestinal tract and alter the development of a child's immune
upset the balance of your intestinal flora and it is imperative
to replace the probiotics as soon as you start taking antibiotics
and for a few weeks after you’ve gone off the drugs.
Epidemiological Review, we found a study that showed that
children given antibiotics during their first six months were 2.6
times more likely to come down with asthma. If given a full spectrum
antibiotic, they were 8.9 times more likely to develop asthma. Interestingly enough, in families without pets,
kids were still 11.6
times more likely to develop asthma. [Ep Rev 02:24(2):154-75]
tell you to fear bugs and chlorinate this and bleach that and spray
this effluvium all over everything our babies touch is junk science.
Our kids need to get a little dirt in their lives. A child’s immune
system has to be challenged. JAMA even reported that children
exposed to two or more pets during the first year of their lives
have fewer allergies and allergic asthma than children raised
without pets. [JAMA 02:288(8):963-72]
Our children need
to build a healthy immune system and here is where probiotics come
If you go to
will see that they tested many probiotic products (you will have to
become a paid member to see the entire study). iFlora came out on top with 16 strains, 4 times greater than the
runner up, and 15 billion cells per capsule. However, iFlora is
called something entirely different because they have two companies,
one that sells online and the other that sells in retail outlets. In
the latest Consumer Labs study, iFlora failed because the capsules
they tested did not contain the amount of live bacteria listed on
the bottle. However, iFlora publishes on their bottle the amount
that was in it at production and like most probiotics, they start to
die off right after bottling. Even though Sedona Labs’ advanced
micro-encapsulation process keeps the cultures alive at room
temperature, some start to die off. They really made a marketing
error by publishing that number. Any assay of their products, to
find the numbers they published, would have to be conducted the day
the product was bottled.
Editor's Note: Please take note that this was
written in 2005 and Consumer Labs has tested many, many more
probiotics since then, and you have a host of products to choose
Let’s take a look at the wide variety of benefits
Relieve chronic indigestion. When
you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, it could be your
probiotics. Probiotics will make your digestion more efficient,
enhance lactose digestion, break down undigested foods,
including those tough carbohydrates. In the end, probiotics
relieve cramping and bloating.
Relieve IBS (irritable bowel
syndrome), inflammatory bowel, colitis, Crohn’s Disease, and
Reduce flatulence. If you have a
bad gas problem, try probiotics first.
Maintain the proper colon pH.
We’ve talked about pH a lot. The pH of the body should be
slightly alkaline. However, your colon should be acidic.
Probiotics are the key to proper colon pH.
Relieve constipation. Probiotics
decrease the transit time of waste through your bowel.
Relieve diarrhea. Two forms of
diarrhea are relieved by probiotics: traveler’s diarrhea and
Control the growth of harmful
yeast and mold. Probiotics are well known for fighting
intestinal yeast and mold. The best was mentioned above:
Probicel. Vaginal yeast infections and other
infections associated with Candida are targeted by probiotics.
Many naturopaths tell women with vaginal yeast infections to dip
a tampon in yogurt and insert it for an hour or two. Prevention
is the key here, and a study published in the International
Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics attributed the increase
in recurring vaginal candidiasis worldwide to a lack of
sufficient Lactobacilli in many women, as well as the growing
problem of antibiotic resistance. Lactobacilli constitute
(according to the study) “the vagina's primary defense mechanism
Absorb vitamins and nutrients
Create B Vitamins and omega-3
essential fatty acids. Yes, this is the amazing thing about
probiotics. They excrete things our bodies need. Additionally,
they help convert the Alpha-linolenic Acid in flax oil to DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eiocosapentaenoic acid).
Without probiotics, you have to get DHA and EPA from marine
sources. (Note: the liver, if healthy and given the proper
nutrients, can also create DHA.)
Boost immune function. This
occurs in the following two steps:
Reduce and possibly eliminate
food allergies. "Whenever a food allergy is felt to be behind a
medical problem, probiotics will prove beneficial." Dr Robert C
Relieve urinary tract infections.
Acidophilus is one of the dominant healthy bacterial colonies in
the urinary tract (kidneys and bladder). E-coli, though usually
thought to inhabit only the colon, actually makes its way into
the urinary tract too.
Relieve bad breath; reduce body
odor. Lets face it,
some bad breath problems don’t just start in the mouth, but come
up from the digestive system.
Protect against leaky gut
syndrome. This in a subject we’ll have to cover in another
article, but maintaining proper flora in your gut will help
prevent this terrible condition.
Inflammation has become the disease of this new century (and
we’ll cover it in an article soon). Studies published in Gut;
2004, Vol. 53, 108-17 show that bowel surgery patients who took
probiotics had an 85% chance of remaining pouchitis free
(inflammation of the pouch that usually follows bowel surgeries)
while those taking the placebo had only a 6% chance of avoiding
it. Additionally, the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
a branch of the National Institute of Health, published a study
that showed that DNA from “dead” probiotics helped reduce
inflammation in mice. [www.nih.gov/news/pr/feb2004/niaid-03.htm]
Relieve allergies and eczema. The
above study also went on to point this out. It’s always been
suspected that skin problems begin in the gut. This is just one
more piece to the puzzle that’s been discovered.
Prevent, palliate, and reduce the
effects of the common cold. This one is amazing. I discovered a
paper on line (in PDF format) published by the Institute for
Physiology and Biochemistry of Nutrition from Kiel, Germany that
told of a study they had begun. I found the results at the
Health Sciences Institute web site. The results showed that the
group taking the probiotics had 13% fewer respiratory
infections, and of those who got the infection, the probiotic
group had a 19% reduction in symptoms over the placebo group.
Influenza symptoms were reduced by 25% and the number of days of
fever was reduced by 50%. Overall immune response was
“significantly higher” in the probiotic group, “especially
during the first 14 days of supplementation.”
There is no secret to maintaining proper flora in
your system. Eating a good yogurt or kefir or homemade sauerkraut a
good start, along with organic vegetables and a good flax oil (my
Additionally, you will want to eat lignan precursors found in such
foods as flax seed (mentioned already), the cruciferous vegetables
(cauliflower, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, boc choi), spinach,
carrots, millet and buckwheat). Lignan precursors, when metabolized
by our probiotics, create chemicals that protect us from cancers,
strokes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Check out this paper from
the Linus Pauling Institute:
You might also wish to supplement with FOS (Fructooligosaccharide),
a primitive sugar that your body cannot digest, but your probiotics
We have since writing this piece, written two
articles that are of interest at this point. Foods that feed your
probiotics are called "prebiotics." One of them is also called, "Resistant
Starch," and the other you will just love:
Wine & Chocolate.
We never really kill off all of our probiotics, but
we can quickly and easily disrupt their fragile balance. Here are the
things that can put our good bacteria/bad bacteria ratio out of
2. Excessive Sugar consumption
3. Excessive Yeast consumption
4. Chlorinated water
5. Processed foods
6. Excessive Alcohol consumption
7. Colas and carbonated beverages
8. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers (both
prescription and OTC)
10. Traveling outside the country two, three or more
times a year.
11. Tobacco smoke.
From the Health
Sciences Institute, we received information we really have to pass
on to you.
First off, we
cannot overemphasize that the use of antacids is NOT recommended.
You need stomach acid to digest your food. The drug companies are
now scaring everyone into buying their poisons by telling you that
you're going to get esophageal cancer if you don't stop your stomach
from producing acid.
The truth is, your
chances of cancer, heart disease, and stroke increase when your body
doesn't get the nutrition it needs.
Next, the Journal
of the American Medical Association published a study showing that
people taking Nexium, Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix, Aciphex, Pepcid,
Zantac, Tagamet, Rotane, or Axid had a FOUR times greater risk of
pneumonia. Wow. [Risk of Community-Acquired Pneumonia and Use of
Gastric Acid-Suppressive Drugs" Journal of the American Medical
Association, Vol. 292, No. 16, 10/27/04]
So, from HSI we
have another nice and easy remedy for GERD, that burning sensation in
your esophagus from acid reflux. Dr Allan Spreen suggests opening up
one or two or three capsules of acidophilus powder, mixing it with
your saliva, and swallowing it down. It is something your body
needs, and it heals the esophagus. My favorite brand, that we've
talked about, from Sedona Labs is NOT recommended here. Their
acidophilus product has a coating that helps the bacteria pass through
to the small intestines where they are needed. The coating will not
dissolve in your saliva. So you need to find a good refrigerated
brand, and have it handy. You will NOT be able to take it along to
with you on trips, as heat kills the live bacteria.
And yes, you can
have a few sips of water. They warn us though, that it could be
possible to be sensitive to high doses of acidophilus, though it is
extremely rare. Just cut back a bit, and try to see how much you can
take, should you have a reaction to it.
Next, HSI told us
of a product from England that is worth a try for those of you who suffer
from heart burn or GERD. It's called Potters Acidosis and it
improves the environment so that your GE sphincter can tighten up a
It consists of
mainly of three natural ingredients:
Meadowsweet, a flower, which has
been used for centuries as an astringent, antacid, and
Medicinal vegetable charcoal,
which absorbs toxic matter in the stomach and neutralizes excess
acid (note the word "excess").
Rhubarb, which is an ancient
Every time we find
Potters Acidosis, we post a link and then the site no longer sells
it. Apparently the only way to get Potters Acidosis is to call the
company in England: 011-44-1942-405100.
Starch ─ a natural way to improve digestion
and deliver pre-biotics that feed your probiotics.
Allergies and Infectious Disease (more info on food allergies)